The Daily Show Defense

A new legal precedent has been introduced by the Obama Justice Department. If permitted by the court, defendants nationwide may have a powerful new tool to assert in pursuit of legal vindication.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents containing statements by former Vice-President Dick Cheney to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. The documents were part of Fitzgerald’s investigation into the leaking of Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA operative. Scooter Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury for his role in the matter, but his sentence was later commuted by George W. Bush as he slinked from office.

The Bush administration originally denied a congressional request for these documents citing executive privilege. Now Obama’s Justice Department is also seeking to prevent this disclosure for many of the same reasons that Bush’s lawyers argued. But going further, civil division lawyer Jeffrey M. Smith, claimed that the documents should remain confidential because their release might inhibit future vice-presidents, or other officials, from speaking candidly to investigators researching criminal activity.

That is a rather surprising argument in that most Americans probably expect their representatives to be cooperative in criminal investigations. The notion that they would deliberately impede an investigation because their testimony might be made public is disturbing, to say the least. But the specific reference made by Smith as to what might scare off official witnesses is even more disturbing. He said that the prospect that “it’s going to get on ‘The Daily Show’, “ was enough for the judge to grant a denial of the FOIA request.

Seriously? Is the Daily Show now considered to be so influential that the mere mention of its name can squelch a court case? Does that mean that anyone previously convicted of a crime, who happened to have been the subject of satire by Jon Stewart can now seek to have the conviction overturned on appeal? Does Comedy Central need to seek legal counsel prior to Photoshopping public figures with funny hats or broadcasting video of them saying stupid things (which happens with way too much frequency). Is the “Daily Show Defense” this generation’s “Twinkie Defense”?

At this point the judge seemed to be unconvinced and asked the attorney to come back with more evidence to support denying the FOIA request. But just the fact that a professional, respected, government lawyer would advance this argument is pretty sad. I can’t wait to see what Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert say about it.

Fox News Hires Disgraced Journalist Judith Miller

In an effort to further make a mockery of the phrase “fair and balanced,” Fox News has announced that former New York Times reporter Judith Miller has been hired as a commentator for the cable propaganda network. Coming on the heels of last week’s announcement that imbecilic blabber Glenn Beck will be getting his own show on Fox News, Miller should feel right at home, along with Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and her very own White House source, Karl Rove.

Miller is best known for spending 85 days in jail for protecting Rove and Scooter Libby, who had conspired with her to slander Valerie Plame. Plame was the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson who had revealed the lies that the Bush administration was peddling with regard to Saddam Hussein’s alleged aspirations for weapons of mass destruction. Miller and her cohorts outed Plame as a covert intelligence operative with the CIA, ending her career as well as her important work gathering intelligence about Iran’s nuclear activities.

Miller is also the author of some of the most distorted propaganda in support of the Bush administration’s intention to invade Iraq. She operated as a functionary of the White House, retelling their lies on the pages of the New York Times so that they could cite her stories as proof of the need to initiate a preemptive war of aggression. After the fact, the Times’ editor was forced to apologize for the journalistic sloppiness and deceit of Miller and her colleagues:

“Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper…while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.”

Miller left the Times in disgrace and later joined the conservative Manhattan Institute. Now she will expand her reach to viewers of Fox News, who will likely appreciate her right-skewed world view. And Fox gets another mouthpice to further its propaganda assault on America and the world.

Scooter Libby Guilty – Except On Fox News

Libby Verdict

It sure didn’t take these guys long to construct their disinformation strategy. And you have to admire their chutzpah. Even while the Fox News Pundo-fascist talking blockheads make pseudo-lawyerly arguments demeaning the jury, the prosecutor, and the verdict, their manging editor, Droop Dawg Brit Hume floats above the real message that Fox wants desperately to pound into their zombified audience.

There really isn’t much more to say about this. It is just another example of the lying, propaganda machine that is trying to pass itself off as a news network.But I really hope this can get some attention because it is not an isolated incident. Remember, this is the network whose chairman admitted that he uses his media empire to shape public opinion.

And this is also the network that will be hosting the Democratic primary debate in Nevada. Can you just imagine what messages they will be sending then?

Meet The (Message Control) Press

The trial of Scooter Libby, for lying about outing an undercover CIA agent, has always promised to deliver long held secrets of intrigue and deceit from the White House. And with the participation of so many figures from the media (i.e. Judith Miller, Matt Cooper, Bob Novak, Tim Russert, etc.), there has also been the tantalizing prospect of embarrassing divulgences from that arena as well. Now the first of those promises is being kept.

When former Cheney communications director, Cathie Martin, testified yesterday, she outlined the options that the vice-president should consider in response to allegations that the White House was manipulating intelligence to promote its case against Iraq. Her testimony included the following:

Option 1: “MTP-VP”, she wrote, then listed the pros and cons of a vice presidential appearance on the Sunday show. Under “pro,” she wrote: “control message.”

“I suggested we put the vice president on ‘Meet the Press,’ which was a tactic we often used,” Martin testified. “It’s our best format.”

I can’t wait to hear Tim Russert’s response to this revelation that his program was a preferred dumping ground for administration propaganda. Martin detailed practices designed to bury bad news and otherwise distract the press. Then she complained that reporters didn’t accept her word and even stopped calling. That speaks well of certain members of the press, but also reveals how transparent her machinations must have been.

In addition to cracking the door a bit on the VP’s media connivances, it was also disclosed that Cathie Martin is the wife of FCC chairman, Kevin Martin. In an administration rife with cronyism, it seems a little too convenient that the VP’s director of communications is sleeping with the head of the federal agency responsible for regulating the media companies she has been lying to.